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A protester is taken into custody by Orange County Police Officers during a demonstration to show outrage for the several recent officer involved shootings on July 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California. For the past week, protesters have clashed with police resulting in both property damage and many arrests.
Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images
Protesters shout at Orange County Police Officers during a demonstration to show outrage for the several recent officer involved shootings on July 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California. For the past week, protesters have clashed with police resulting in both property damage and many arrests.
Hundreds rallied Sunday to denounce two fatal police shootings and to issue a call for community peace, obstructing traffic in Anaheim.
Some 200 vocal protesters rallied in front of police headquarters while a separate group of about 100 people marched along a two-mile stretch of a main thoroughfare, The Orange County Register reported.
The vocal group started marching toward Disneyland, but a police line had formed to stop them.
According to the L.A. Times, policemen 100 strong stopped protesters from marching in a standstill that blocked traffic on Ball Road.
NBC Los Angeles' John John Cádiz Klemack tweeted a photo of a protester getting arrested as tensions escalated.
"What's going on here in Orange County is symbolic of a problem with the system," Eduardo Perez, a 21-year-old student, told the Register. "This wouldn't happen to white people. This is racism, simple as that."
The other marchers dressed in white and remained silent as part of their call for peace. City Councilwoman Kris Murray and state Sen. Lou Correa, a Democrat who represents Anaheim, were among the marchers, the Register reported.
Footage from Spiritualution's livestream followed the action. Protesters held signs that said “Am I Next?” and chalked up the sidewalks. One message read: “not even an apology.” Police with zip ties and SWAT team members in military-style fatigues lined one side of the police station.
Speakers used a megaphone to deliver speeches to the crowd about the need for change. Demonstrators began chanting, “El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido,” which translates to “A people united will never be defeated.”
“No more fear, no more stereotypes,” said one speaker. All asked for peaceful protests and to not give police a reason to react.
“We’ve been doing this peacefully for years,” said Theresa Smith, the mother of Caesar Cruz, shot by police in 2009. “I’m not asking, I’m demanding.”
Anaheim police on horseback and SWAT officers stayed close by as protesters marched down Harbor Blvd. Traffic was held up for a while as police tried to redirect cars around the protesters. A small crowd then found themselves on a dead-end residential street where police tried to force marchers back onto the sidewalk or face arrest. A few neighbors gave the marchers water and encouraged them by banging on pots and pans.
The demonstrations occurred just hours before a scheduled evening memorial service for Manuel Diaz, a 25-year-old man who was shot dead July 21. Police said Diaz, who had a criminal record, failed to heed orders and threw something as he fled police. He was unarmed.
The following night, police shot to death Joel Acevedo, a suspected gang member they say fired at officers after a pursuit.
The shootings ignited four days of violent protests, culminating Tuesday night in hundreds of demonstrators surging through downtown. Police said some in the crowd smashed the windows of 20 businesses, set trash can fires, threw rocks and bottles at police and damaged City Hall and police headquarters. Two dozen people were arrested.
The Orange County district attorney's office is investigating, and the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI also agreed to review the shootings to determine if civil rights investigations are warranted.
A group of demonstrators rallied peacefully in front of Disneyland on Saturday.